To get a great night’s sleep, not only do you need a comfortable and supportive mattress, but also a pillow that supports your preferred sleeping position. Any old pillow won’t do when it comes to properly supporting your neck and keeping it aligned with your spine. Depending on which position you primarily sleep in, you should have a certain type of pillow. Here are the most common sleeping positions and what type of pillow best supports them:
- Side Sleeper: When sleeping on your side, you will need a thicker pillow to support the weight of your head and bring your neck up into alignment with your spine. If you are a side sleeper and you are waking up with a sore neck in the morning, your pillow may be too flat. Also, you may want to consider putting a leg pillow between your knees while sleeping on your side because that will keep your knees from coming together which puts strain on your lower back.
- Stomach Sleeper: If you sleep on your stomach you shouldn’t really use a pillow, but if you need one make sure it is a thin pillow. A pillow that is too full will elevate your head and bring your neck out of alignment from your spine. For extra comfort and support take your pillow and place it under your hips, as you sleep on your stomach. Doing so will raise your lower back and alleviate stress on it.
- Back Sleeper: For maximum comfort and support while sleeping on your back, a pillow that is soft and on the thinner side will do the job. A soft pillow will allow your head to sink into it, and while providing support, it will keep your neck and spine in natural alignment. A pillow that is too thick or has no give will force your head up too high and cause you aches and pains in the morning.
There are also pillows that suit your lifestyle as well. Here are pillows that can help solve some of your daily (nightly?) grievances:
- Allergy sufferers: Instead of traditional down and feather pillows, try a latex pillow which is naturally hypoallergenic.
- Music Listeners: If you like to fall asleep while listening to music but your roommate/partner prefers silence, then try a pillow with a speaker built right into it. Plugging your MP3 player into the pillow will let you, and only you, listen to your music as your drift off to sleep, while your roommate/partner enjoys silence.
- The Jet-Setter: If I’m leaving for a trip, I’ll never leave home without my travel pillow. I have one that fits around my neck which is great because every time I fall asleep en route, my head rolls back and it’s actually supported by a pillow. I recommend to anyone who travels, even if it’s just once a year, to get a travel pillow so that you can be comfortable and supported when you fall asleep.
So now you have the perfect pillow that fulfills your needs, but how do you take care of it? For washing instructions read the manufacturers label on the pillow. Follow what those instructions say diligently to maximize the lifespan of your pillow. Depending on the quality of the pillow, you may need to replace it anywhere from 6 months up to 2 years. I’m going to let you in on a little secret tip on how to tell when your pillow needs replacing. Fold your pillow in half and then place a book on top of your folded pillow. If your pillow bounces back to regular form, then it is fine. But if your pillow stays folded in half, then it is time to get a new pillow.
There you have it! Now you’re fully informed and can go out and find your perfect pillow and enjoy a great night’s sleep.
Contributor: Emily Barrett